Canon PowerShot A480 review: Canon PowerShot A480

Performance, though not dreadfully slow, is still pokey. It takes nearly 2 seconds for the camera to go from off to first shot captured. Shutter lag is below average in bright lighting conditions at 0.6 second from pressing the release to capture. A positive: it performs identically in dim conditions. Shot-to-shot times are mediocre at 2.7 seconds without flash and jumping to 5.6 seconds with it on. Lastly, its continuous shooting time is only 0.6 frames per second.

Photo quality from the A480 was better than expected. Center sharpness and detail are very good for such an inexpensive camera; however, photos do soften up as you head off-center and noise/graininess is visible at full size, even at ISO 80. The A480 performs true to its class, delivering its best photos below ISO 200 and begins declining between ISO 200 and ISO 400. Though ISO 800 photos aren't great, they're usable at small sizes. ISO 1,600 is bad and only recommended for low-light emergencies where quality takes a backseat to getting a shot. Color is uniformly excellent and makes up for a lot of the camera's other photo issues. Unfortunately, lens distortion causes quite a bit of purple fringing; it's to be expected at its price, but that doesn't make it any better. If you plan to print photos larger than 8x10 or even 5x7, there's a good chance you'll be disappointed with the results. (See the slideshow for an example.) Overall, you're really not going to find better photos for the cost of the A480.

It's tough getting overly critical about a camera as inexpensive as the Canon PowerShot A480. It really is enough, at least to me, that it's small, attractive, and produces decent photos at this price point, and without any real skill or effort required on the part of the photographer. However, if you're expecting more than just snapshot photos, I'd save up for something else.

Shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS
1.4 
3.2 
2.1 
0.7 
0.5 
Kodak EasyShare M1093 IS
2.8 
1.4 
1.2 
1 
0.5 
Nikon Coolpix S230
3.5 
3.3 
3 
1 
0.5 
Canon PowerShot A480
1.8 
5.6 
2.7 
0.6 
0.6 
Pentax Optio E70
2.4 
4.2 
3.3 
1.2 
0.6 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

Canon PowerShot A480 (Silver)

Part Number: 3474B001 Released: Mar 17, 2009
MSRP: $229.99 Low Price: $179.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Mar 17, 2009
  • Digital camera type Compact
  • Optical Zoom 3.3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 10.0 Megapixel
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.3"